Jul 27, 2016


Survey Finds Fear of Zika May Prevent Americans from Traveling to Brazil


RICHMOND, VA,JULY 27, 2016 — Half of Americans believe the 2016 summer Olympic games should be delayed or canceled due to Zika, and almost two thirds have no interest in traveling to Rio de Janeiro or Brazil due to the virus, according to a new survey by leading travel insurance provider Allianz Global Assistance.

The survey found that 71 percent of Americans would not be interested in traveling to Rio de Janeiro or Brazil for the 2016 Olympic Games, with 82 percent of respondents saying the Zika virus impacted their opinion towards traveling to South America during the summer. Forty-two percent of those respondents said that they definitely would not go, 23 percent would be less interested in going and 18 percent would go, but be worried about Zika during the trip.

In fact, nearly half of Americans (49 percent) think that the Olympics should have been delayed (34 percent) or canceled (15 percent) to protect people from the virus. To this point, 48 percent would rather wait to attend the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

Recent acts of terrorism throughout the world have also played a factor in Americans’ hesitation to travel to the Summer Olympics with 28 percent reporting terror acts have made them less interested in attending.

Other factors hindering interest in traveling to the Olympics include travel costs (31 percent), safety concerns (25 percent), health concerns (11 percent), lack of interest in sports (10 percent), large crowds (8 percent), difficulty getting tickets to the games (8 percent) and lack of desire to travel (6 percent).

And those that are going to the city for the games are getting in and out as fast as possible – spending half as much time in the city as previous Olympic Games.

The nearly 30 percent of Americans still interested in traveling to Rio de Janeiro are enough to show a bump in traffic to the city, however this small number of travelers are keeping their trips brief. In a review of travel bookings** comparing trips from July 15-31 in 2015 and 2016, Allianz Global Assistance found there was a 273 percent increase in travel plans to Rio with 6,440 Americans expected. That said, the average trip length is only 13 days, which is far fewer than the 26-day average from the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Whether it’s a medical issue or a travel delay, a travel insurance policy*** from Allianz Global Assistance can provide peace of mind, especially for travel outside the U.S., where many hospitals may request cash payments in the thousands before treatment even begins. Many U.S. health insurance policies (including Medicare and Medicaid) may not cover international travel; those that do may not cover the cost of medical evacuation.

Allianz Global Assistance offers travel insurance through most major U.S. airlines, leading travel agents, online travel agencies and directly to consumers. For more information on Allianz Global Assistance and the policies offered for travelers, please visit: http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com or like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/AllianzTravelInsuranceUS.

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*Methodology: This 10-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population on May 26, 2016, through Google Consumer Surveys, receiving 2,110 responses. The methodology is explained here and a snapshot of survey findings is below: 

  • If given the opportunity, would you be interested in traveling to Brazil/ Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 Summer Olympics?
    • o    29.5% – Yes
    • o    70.5% – No
  • How does the fear of contracting the Zika Virus impact your opinion towards traveling to South America (where the disease could be found) for the 2016 Summer Olympics?
    • o    41.6% – I definitely wouldn’t go
    • o    22.8% – I would be less interested in going
    • o    17.8% – I would go, but be worried about Zika
    • o    17.8% – I would go, Zika is of no concern to me
  • Do you feel that the 2016 Summer Olympics should have been delayed or canceled to protect people from the Zika Virus?
    • o    34.1% – Yes, it should have been delayed
    • o    14.8% – Yes, it should have been canceled
    • o    51.1% – No, it should stay as is
  • If given the opportunity, would you rather travel to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo than the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro?
    • o    47.6% – Yes, I’d rather travel to Tokyo
    • o    16.1% – No, I’d rather travel to Rio de Janeiro
    • o    36.2% – No, I’m not interested in either location
  • Have the recent acts of terrorism around the world affected your interest towards traveling to Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympics?
    • o    27.8% – Yes, I’m less interested
    • o    3.2% – Yes, I’m more interested
    • o    69.0% – No, I’m unchanged
  • What other factors hinder your interest in traveling to Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympics?
    • o    25.2% – Safety concerns
    • o    11.4% – Health concerns
    • o    30.9% – Travel Costs
    • o    10.2% – Lack of interest in sports
    • o    6.3% – Lack of desire to travel
    • o    8.3% – Large crowds
    • o    7.6% – Difficulty in getting tickets to the games
  • Would the peace of mind of having travel insurance affect your interest in traveling to Rio de Janeiro?
    • o    14.3% – Yes, more interested with travel insurance
    • o    51.3% – No, it doesn’t address my concerns
    • o    34.3% – Unchanged, I don’t want to travel to Rio

**Methodology: The data of travelers’ bookings from the U.S. to Brazil airports purchased from September to May in 2015 and 2016, for travel dates between July and August, including airfare and package paths for partners offering Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance in the booking path for the entirety of both purchase periods. Below is the snapshot of the findings:

Destination 2015 Travelers (Jul 15-Aug 31) 2016 Travelers (Jul 15-Aug 31) % Change 2012 Olympics Trip Length in London 2016 Trip Olympics Trip Length in Rio Trip Length Difference
Rio de Janeiro 1,729 6,440 272.5% 25.9 days 13.1 days 12.8 days

Allianz Global Assistance USA 

Allianz Global Assistance USA (AGA Service Company) is a leading consumer specialty insurance and assistance company.  We insure 21 million customers annually and are best known for our Allianz Travel Insurance plans. In addition to travel insurance, Allianz Global Assistance USA offers tuition insurance, event ticket protection, registration protection for endurance events and unique travel assistance services such as international medical assistance and concierge services. The company also serves as an outsource provider for in-bound call center services and claims administration for health insurers, property and casualty insurers, and credit card companies. 

To learn more about Allianz Travel Insurance, please visit allianztravelinsurance.com or Like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/AllianzTravelInsuranceUS.

*** - Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply to all plans.  Plans are available only to U.S. residents.  Not all plans are available in all jurisdictions.  For a complete description of the coverage and benefit limits offered under your plan, carefully review your plan’s Letter of Confirmation/Declarations and Certificate of Insurance/Policy.  Insurance coverage is underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: Oakbrook Terrace, IL), rated "A-" (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: Richmond, VA), rated "A+" (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101-C series or 101-P series, depending on state of residence.  Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are brands of AGA Service Company.  AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company.  The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company.  Non-insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company.